Gov. Rick Perry this week touted legislation that would require drug testing for anyone applying for TANF funds, food stamps and unemployment benefits.
Let me play devil's advocate here. We know there are income requirements you must meet to qualify for assistance. Fine. Most taxpayers don't want to subsidize someone else's drug use.
But what about prescription drugs? Will a positive test disqualify them? What if you didn't pay for the pot that made you fail the test? I know - they're still on drugs which are illegal and might lessen their prospects of getting a job that requires a drug test. Okay.
Do we try to prevent them from buying alcohol with their TANF money (while you can't buy booze or cigarettes with food stamps you can use cash from TANF for whatever you want)? How about cigarettes? Both of those substances, if abused, could limit a job applicants productivity and ability to get a job. Yes, they're legal. But if the reasoning to ensure welfare recipients are job-ready, then that argument can be made.
Fatty foods? Name brand items instead of store brand? Take a look at many of the housing projects or poor sections of town where there's a lot of section 8 housing. You'll see satellite dishes and expensive cars. Do we prevent people who take government assistance from having those luxuries, as well?
Keep in mind, I'm not necessarily opposed to drug testing for government benefits. What I am saying is that we need to consider these programs in their entirety. And while I'm no fan of taxpayer handouts, I'm also not a fan of giving the government the power to dictate what we can and can't do just because we use a particular program, as wasteful as it may be. The real solution is to dramatically limit the availability and length of these programs in general, not put more rules in place.
Remember how bent out of shape we got when the feds changed the school lunch menus? The same logic applied there.